I wrote last week about a naughty society and mentioned some of our failings. One response asked what can do about what we have done. The person was so tired of listening to the environmental criticisms. I have always believed when there is an on going problem we can change and if we don’t ….change will be made for us.
The truth is we have polluted lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, forests, and the air. We disguised the word greed, calling our transgressions progress. The words oil is a trigger for all things bad. No I am not against oil. We are going to need it for fifty years or more because the world is addicted to it. We do have to use it more wisely however. This in itself will cause social upheaval. Some wanted ideas of what could be done. Well, cleaning up a mess does not usually allow for a lot of popular options. Here are a few to explore. Before rejecting them out of hand ask why? Remember when looking for collective answers self interest can’t be part of the equation.
Lets start with gasoline. Instead of charging by the cost of the product itself. What if we charged by miles driven and the carbon released per vehicle? The same for other things produced. Instead of a green fee charge the real carbon cost per unit of the product. Manufactures would find alternate raw materials.
One of the most significant changes would be part of future trade deals. That would be to make manufactures responsible for accepting and recycling packaging products come in. These changes would be phased in.
Let us take a moment to address the social inequities we have created. Free trade deals should not come with a race to the bottom environmentally or in working conditions. We in the western world prohibited child labor more than a century ago.
Therefore in trade negotiations we should address that. There is no reason someone else s child should be forced to work long hours for little pay so you and I can have cheap running shoes etc. Pay, hours of work and safety conditions must become global issues.
At home there needs to be change. Here is one example. We have part time as a norm. The hours are restricted so employers don’t have to pay benefits. We need to change that.
Everything from pride to loyalty depends on how employees are treated. There are any number of changes to be made and it will take time. The positive in all this is that we can begin to implement change as part of a new normal. Failure to do so will mean future generations will pay for our failure to adapt to a more equitable global society.